You would be surprised at how many people just come out and say “hey, my bicycle is so uncomfortable”. But what’s even more of a surprise is the fact that far too many of these people have never actually adjusted their seating position. And yes, having an incorrect seating position can be uncomfortable, to say the least.
Fortunately, adjusting your seating position is remarkably easy and just requires you to have the basic skills and a couple of tools that you probably already have at home. It’s a matter of adjusting a couple of small things, so let’s go over them and see how you can get the best seating position for your foldable bike.
Seat Height First
Arguably the most important part of bicycle adjustments, having the right seat height can mean the difference between you being able to ride for miles, and getting frustrated and tired after just ten minutes. To make matters worse, an incorrectly adjusted seat can lead to painful knees and problems with your neck and back, so let’s see how to adjust it.
First things first, measure your current seat height. Have the crank arm pointed downwards, in line with your seat tube. In the case of the BIRDY, where the crankset axle is slightly offset, make sure the crank arm is parallel with the seat tube. Then, measure the distance from the bottommost point of the crank arm, to the top of the saddle, and take a note of this number.
Then, use one of two methods to adjust the height.
The first one is the heel method, where you raise your saddle roughly to your hip to begin with. Then, sit on your bike and put your heels on the center of the pedal. If you can do this while extending your leg, without any discomfort, you’ve got the right saddle height. If not, adjust as needed – you want your leg to be fully extended, but without overextending the knee.
The second one is the 109% method, where you first need to measure your inseam. When you know the measurement of your inseam, multiply that by 109, and you’ll get the seat height you should be going for.
Whichever one you go for, the seat height is adjustable with the quick release lever at the bottom of the seatpost. Release it, adjust the seat, and then tighten it again and you’re good to go!
Handlebar Height and Stem Angle Next
Once you’re done getting the seat height right, you should adjust the handlebar height. Most of our foldable bicycles, like the BIRDY Touring or the CARRYME SD come with an adjustable handlebar height with a quick release lever, which makes things incredibly simple. The only thing you need to do is release the lever and then set the handlebars higher or lower, depending on what suits you best.
When it comes to handlebar height, you want to find the perfect middle ground. A low handlebar also lowers your center of gravity and increases traction. But go too low, and you’ll find yourself slouching over the handlebars which is not exactly ideal. For the most comfortable riding position, you want your handlebar to be at the same height (or even slightly higher) than your seat.
Then, you want to adjust the stem angle. If you don’t have an adjustable stem where you can loosen a screw and change the angle, you can actually flip the stem upside down. That’s the easiest way to do things on something like the REACH, and allows you to choose between one of two positions depending on whether you have the stem pointing upwards, or downwards, relative to the head tube angle.
Playing with Tire Pressure
While not technically a riding position adjustment, playing with tire pressure can greatly impact your riding experience. Tires inflated to a higher pressure will usually result in a stiffer ride and less rolling resistance, which is ideal when you go for longer distances over smooth pavement. On the other hand, a slightly lower tire pressure will result in a more comfortable, softer ride, which is better for rougher terrains. However, you’re taking a bit of a risk here as it’s much easier to get a flat tire, especially a pinch flat, with a lower pressure, so keep that in mind.
Wrapping Things Up
Your riding position has a massive impact on your overall riding experience, and getting it right can make a big difference when it comes to comfortably riding your foldable bike. With that in mind, you should know how to adjust every aspect of your bike, and we hope to have shown you that it’s actually surprisingly easy to do so, even if you aren’t a mechanic.